Spray Polyurethane Foam: A Key Component to Any Net Zero Solution

SPF has the ability to insulate, air and water seal, as well as control moisture throughout the structure, acting as a single-source solution, reducing the need for multiple products.

SPF has the ability to insulate, air and water seal, as well as control moisture throughout the structure, acting as a single-source solution, reducing the need for multiple products.

In July 2014, California initiated the revision process to the 2016 version of Title 24, California’s building energy efficiency codes, which are designed to move the state’s residential and commercial buildings toward zero net energy (ZNE). All new residential construction is to be ZNE by 2020, and all new commercial buildings are to achieve ZNE by 2030. While aggressive, these goals are achievable with the right design implementation and accessibility to proper building materials.

As one of the world’s most influential economies, the state of California has demonstrated its power in leading the other 49 states in the implementation of progressive initiatives. California traditionally takes an environmental stance with a history of enforcing regulations designed to protect the physical environment and health of the state’s residents. These efforts often result in national trending with other states and municipalities following suit with similar regulations. It is widely anticipated a similar phenomenon will occur with ZNE goals.

The design of a ZNE building focuses on the reduction of energy consumption and on the generation of the structure’s own renewable energy (such as via solar panel solutions). Long-term ZNE begins with a quality building enclosure. High-performance attics and wall systems are a key focus of 2016 Title 24 as they make a significant impact in the reduction of peak cooling demand in structures.

SPF may be installed in a continuous layer, eliminating thermal bypasses, and boasts one of the highest R-values of all insulation options.

SPF may be installed in a continuous layer, eliminating thermal bypasses, and boasts one of the highest R-values of all insulation options.

Because of spray polyurethane foam’s unique attributes, the material is widely recognized as an optimal solution for unvented attics, as well as for roofing, walls and ceilings. SPF has the ability to insulate, air and water seal, as well as control moisture throughout the structure, acting as a single-source solution, reducing the need for multiple products.

Energy loss may occur at various points throughout the roof, walls and ceiling via air leakage. Thus the air-sealing ability of SPF is extremely beneficial when trying to improve energy efficiency.

In roofing, SPF acts as a protective roofing solution and as an insulator.

In roofing, SPF acts as a protective roofing solution and as an insulator.

As a thermal insulator, SPF forms in place and fully adheres, almost completely eliminating the cracks and gaps that allow escape of conditioned air. It may be installed in a continuous layer, eliminating thermal bypasses typically found with cavity insulations and boasts one of the highest R-values of all insulation options.

In roofing, SPF acts as a protective roofing solution and as an insulator. The effectiveness of insulation is measured through moisture control, air leakage, health, safety, durability, comfort and energy efficiency factors, and SPF scores exceptional marks in all.

These combined characteristics are integral to SPF’s ability to contribute to total ZNE solutions—solutions, which will become increasingly necessary as the net zero revolution takes hold across the U.S.

Weather-resistant Barrier Market Will Grow

According to a new report, “Weather Resistant Barriers 2014”, from Malvern, Pa.-based Principia, total demand for weather-resistant barriers (WRBs), including building wraps, roofing underlayment, membranes, wrapped sheathing, rain screens, insulating board stock, spray polyurethane foam and building paper will grow at about 7 percent per year from about $3.7 billion in 2013 to $4.5 billion in 2016.

Multifunctional products are leading the growth in WRBs. These products have higher average growth rates and gross margins and represent about 45 percent of the industry’s total value, yet only account for 20 percent of the total volume. Code changes and installation efficiencies are the primary factors driving the product mix shift away from traditional barriers and wraps toward products that offer multiple functionalities.

Sue Ross, project manager for the report, comments: “Many new products have been recently launched by current industry suppliers, as well as new entrants. The new products and systems are designed to prevent air, vapor, water and thermal transmission from transferring across the building envelope, whether it’s inside-out or outside-in, thus reducing a building owner’s heating and cooling costs and improving the integrity and comfort of the building. Balancing energy transfer and moisture management within the building envelope has driven major changes in WRB material demand and will continue to drive product innovation.

“Many new WRB market entrants have roots in other product categories that are used in and around the building envelope and already have established distribution and contractor customers, including waterproofing and coatings, sheathing and panels, foamed insulation, roofing and roofing underlayment, and traditional wraps and membranes,” she continues. “Companies are combining several material technologies to form multifunctional products that are easier and faster to install and are going to market through established channels to take advantage of existing relationships and expand the value of their product portfolios.”

The report contains key market data, trends and strategic insight into all aspects of the business from supply through distribution to designers and end users. Principia conducted discussions with 600 industry participants, including contractors, architects, specifiers, building-envelope scientists, dealers, distributors and manufacturers to compile its comprehensive assessment.

Principia’s interactive Market Model and Forecasting Tool is included with the report. This tool allows subscribers to model hypothetical market performance based on their own assumptions of metrics, such as housing starts, commercial-construction growth, remodeling rate and material market share.

Spray Polyurethane Foam Has Structure-strengthening and Energy-efficiency Capabilities

A high-performance building material, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is widely used as an effective, lasting roofing solution. With positive benefits, including versatility, thermal insulation, resistance to inclement weather cycling and storms, strengthening of the building envelope, long life span and durability, spray foam has enjoyed increased use among builders and roofing contractors alike.

A roof’s primary purpose is to protect the structure underneath it. As a roofing material, closed-cell SPF acts as a protective roofing mechanism and a thermal insulator. The lightweight material is ideal as a roofing solution when:

 As a roofing material, closed-cell SPF acts as a protective roofing mechanism and a thermal insulator.

As a roofing material, closed-cell SPF acts as a protective roofing mechanism and a thermal insulator.

  • the roof substrate has many penetrations.
  • the roof deck is an unusual shape or configuration.
  • the roof is being applied to a structure located in a severe-weather environment.
  • a lightweight option is needed.
  • a slope application is preferred to provide extra drainage capabilities.
  • keeping the existing roof cover is desired.

STRENGTH AND DURABILITY

SPF is considered a highly durable building material. The physical properties of the foam change little with time, accounting for a life span up to 30 years with regular care and maintenance. SPF roofing systems also strengthen the roof in multiple ways. Roofing spray foams possess a compressive strength of 40 to more than 60 pounds per inch. Spray foam’s adhesion strengthening capabilities are key, especially in locations where severe weather cycling, storms, wind, hail and other conditions are prevalent and commonly cause structure damage. Coastal and hurricane-prone regions are prime examples.

When applied to the interior side of a roof, closed-cell SPF can increase a building’s resistance to wind uplift during severe storms. When SPF is applied to built-up roofing and metal substrates, it increases resistance to wind uplift even further. A study conducted by the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 2007 found that applying closed-cell spray foam under a roof deck provides up to three times the resistance to wind uplift for wood roof sheathing panels when compared to a conventionally fastened roof.

Spray foam is a good solution for unusual configurations and areas with many penetrations.

Spray foam is a good solution for unusual configurations and areas with many penetrations.

Spray foam also is resistant to progressive peeling failure. Caused by wind, peeling happens at the roof’s edges when wind pulls flashings and copings away from their installed positions. Peeling looks like a tin can after it has been cut around the perimeter. When this happens, a chain reaction may occur and lead to catastrophic building failure. After the roof membrane, panels or tiles pull away, the board-stock insulation is exposed, often with less resistance to the lateral and uplift wind forces. Then the sheathing below and the substructure are subject to movement and wind or water damage, potentially leaving the entire building interior underneath open and vulnerable. SPF roofing is continuous, so it provides a water-resistant layer that is well adhered to the substrate.

When the Gaithersburg, Md.-based National Institute of Standards and Technology examined roofs following Hurricane Katrina, it found buildings with spray-foam roofs performed rather well without blow-off of the SPF or damage to flashings. The 2006 “Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: A Reconnaissance Report” found that only one of the examined SPF roofs incurred notable damage, and that damage was confined to only 1 percent of the total roof system. The report concluded spray foam kept the roofs intact, prevented moisture from entering the buildings, and protected the structures from hail and debris.

Hurricane Katrina played a significant role in one of the largest reroofing projects ever on one of the largest metal-framed domed structures in the world: the Superdome in New Orleans. Katrina destroyed the dome’s second roof; the structure’s original roof was constructed with polyisocyanurate foam covered with a fluid-applied elastomeric coating but was replaced in 1989 with a single-ply EPDM roofing system. After the damages suffered during Katrina, the EPDM roof system was replaced with a spray foam roof system.

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Global Spray Polyurethane Foam Market Expected to Grow

According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, “Spray Polyurethane Foam (Open-Cell, Closed-Cell and Others) Market for Residential Walls, Residential Roofing, Commercial Walls, Commercial Roofing and Other Applications – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019,” the global spray polyurethane foam market was valued at USD 1,135.3 million in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 1,823 million by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 7.0 percent from 2013-19. In terms of volume, spray polyurethane foam consumption was 473.5 kilo tons in 2012.

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is an effective substitute for traditional insulation materials. Higher efficiency and lower carbon footprint during production have been major factors driving the SPF market. In addition, increasing threat of energy crisis leading to stringent government regulations for energy-efficient structures is expected to further augment the market growth. Isocyanates employed in the production of SPF cause severe occupational health hazards including asthma which has been a major factor restraining growth of the SPF market. Volatility of raw material prices has also restrained the demand for SPF. Developing low cost bio-based SPF is expected to offer huge growth opportunities in the market.

Open-cell and closed-cell SPF together constitute over 90 percent of the global demand for SPF and the trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. Growing demand for residential applications in developed countries is expected to fuel demand for open-cell SPF. Other application segments include one component foam and high density SPF. Demand in other segment is driven by innovation and higher degree of customization.

Demand for SPF can be segregated into five major application segments: residential roofing, residential walls, commercial roofing, commercial wall and other niche applications. Residential roofing application dominates the global demand for SPF. Other application segments include medical equipment and transportation, among others.

North America followed by Asia Pacific dominates the global demand for SPF. Increasing industrial investment mainly in the developing economies of Asia Pacific is expected to drive demand for closed-cell SPF. Europe is expected to be the fastest growing region for SPF market during the forecast period. Stringent government regulations are expected to drive SPF market in the developed economies of North America and Europe.

Some of the major industry participants include BASF Corporation, Lapolla Industries Inc., NCFI Polyurethanes, Bayer MaterialScience, Icynene Inc., Premium Spray Products, CertainTeed Corporation, Rhino Linings Corporation, The Dow Chemical Company and Demilec among others.

This report segments the global spray polyurethane foam market as follows:

Spray Polyurethane Foam Market – Product Segment Analysis

    Open Cell
    Closed Cell
    Others (Including high density spray polyurethane foam, one component foam, etc.)

Spray Polyurethane Foam Market – Application Analysis

    Residential walls
    Residential roofing
    Commercial walls
    Commercial roofing
    Others (Including Medical, Telecom, Transportation, etc.)

Spray Polyurethane Foam Market – Regional Analysis

    North America
    Europe
    Asia Pacific
    Rest of the World